8: Curry School of Graduate Education

General Information | Categories of Graduate Degree Status and Program/Degree Requirements
Program Descriptions | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
Department of Human Services | Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services provides educational experiences and training for individuals preparing for professional careers in areas related to human development and clinical services in both the physical and psychological domains. Graduate degree programs sponsored by this department are in four program areas: communication disorders, counselor education, health and physical education, and clinical and school psychology. The faculty of the Department of Human Services are involved in training, research, and scholarship, and provide professional leadership to the Commonwealth and the nation on issues related to assisting individuals in the development of their full physical and psychological potential for productive and satisfying learning, leisure, and work.

The specializations within each program area are laboratory and/or clinically oriented. Each of the programs within this department seeks to apply knowledge from its disciplinary base to settings which enhance individual development, both physically and psychologically. For example, programs in counseling, sport and exercise psychology, and clinical psychology all require extensive clinical/psychological experiences. Similarly, communication disorders, clinical psychology, motor learning, athletic training, and exercise physiology each have strong clinical/medical aspects, and involve extensive interactions with the School of Medicine and other units of the University of Virginia.

The options and specializations within each program area are described in the following sections.

Clinical and School Psychology
Clinical Psychology
School Psychology
Communication Disorders
Speech/Language Pathology
Counselor Education
School Counseling (Elementary, Middle/Secondary)
Counseling and Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education
Community and Human Service Agency Counseling
Physical Education
Adapted Physical Education
Athletic Training
Exercise Physiology
Motor Learning
Sport and Exercise Psychology
Sports Medicine

To obtain application materials contact the Office of Admission and Student Affairs of the Curry School of Education. To obtain more specific information about any program in the Department of Human Services contact the appropriate program area director.

Communication Disorders   The graduate Communication Disorders Program at the University of Virginia offers masterís (M.Ed.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees. The degree programs fulfill academic and clinical requirements for endorsement in speech, language and hearing by the Virginia State Board of Education, Virginia State Medical Licensing Board, and certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of ASHA. The Speech-Language-Hearing Center is accredited by the Professional Services Board (PSB) of ASHA for full clinical services in speech, language, and hearing.

At the graduate level, specializations in audiology and speech-language pathology are available. Masterís graduates are prepared to evaluate and treat a broad spectrum of communication disorders as they occur across the life span. Clinical proficiency is required for service delivery in educational institutions (public and private schools) and in all other service delivery settings. Extensive clinical practicums in elementary or secondary schools, as well as in health care delivery settings (e.g., hospitals, rehabilitation units), are required of each student.

Students entering the masterís program with a bachelorís degree in communication disorders and sciences may complete the graduate academic and clinical training in 5-6 semesters. Students entering with no undergraduate training in communication disorders need 7-8 semesters to complete the requirements. The program is committed to fulfilling the potential of public and private schools for the delivery of effective clinical services. Students with an interest in, and commitment to, the delivery of speech-language and hearing services to children in the schools are encouraged to apply. Students admitted to the program undergo a screening of their own speech and hearing, and follow up on any recommendations which are made based on the screening test results.

Specialization in the areas of audiology, speech-language pathology, speech and hearing sciences, and aural rehabilitation are available. Graduates are prepared to function in a wide variety of professional settings including public and residential schools, medical settings, rehabilitation centers, community clinics, university training centers, research laboratories, federal, state and local government service programs, private health care agencies, industry, and private practice. Graduates are prepared to work with a variety of communicative disorders across the life span from birth through senescence.

A full range of clinical training experiences are provided, with the graduate student participating in clinical practicums under the supervision of University clinical staff. Advanced clinical training is provided by externships in which the graduate student is placed in clinical settings in the central Virginia region. Finally, an internship semester provides the capstone of clinical training. The internship site is chosen in accordance with the clinical advisor and the graduate studentís choice of geographical and professional preference.

The doctoral studies are supported by the excellent research libraries at the University of Virginia. The Communication Disorders Program faculty specialize in the areas of: auditory evoked potentials, central auditory processing, hearing amplification, aural rehabilitation, speech science and speech perception, evaluating effective and efficient diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the areas of aphasia, traumatic brain injury, dysphagia, child language and child phonology, language-based reading problems (e.g., dyslexia), dysfluency, and voice disorders.

Additional information about the Communication Disorders Program Area is available from the Communication Disorders Program Director, 2205 Fontaine Avenue, Suite 202, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

Counselor Education   Counseling is a unique helping profession based on the social and behavioral sciences. Counselors draw from a variety of disciplines to help individuals develop toward their full potential and solve problems which are typical for their age and stage of development. The degree programs in counselor education are the masterís (M.Ed.), education specialist (Ed.S.), and doctorate (Ed.D. and Ph.D.). Graduate study in counselor education provides opportunities to acquire a depth of knowledge in theories of counseling, group dynamics, interpersonal relations, human behavior dynamics, and research procedures. During the academic year, most counselor education courses are available only to counselor education majors. During the summer session, others may take EDHS 721, EDHS 722 and EDHS 723 with the instructorís permission.

Counselor education programs are designed for students preparing to work in educational institutions or for work in other organizations which have client service roles. Masterís degree programs in counselor education require 48 credits, and train students for entry level positions in schools, institutions of higher education, and community and human service agencies. Post-masterís degree programs are adapted to student goals, and include opportunities for in-depth study in a specific area. The Ed.S. degree requires a minimum of 66 credits, including 48 credits from the masterís program. Admission to doctoral study in counselor education requires a minimum of one year of post-masterís degree professional experience.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA), has conferred accreditation to the degree programs in counselor education at the University of Virginia.

Brief descriptions of each counselor education program options are below; additional information about Counselor Education Programs is available from the Counselor Education Program Director, Ruffner Hall.

School Counseling   The elementary school counseling track has a focus on school counseling kindergarten through grade five with a developmental emphasis on childhood. The track focuses on planning, implementing and evaluating counseling programs to meet the unique social, physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of students in elementary school. Unique to this track is the student's opportunity to gain an understanding of child growth and development, learning theories, community, and culture. Special emphasis is placed on counseling and consultation skills. Field experience in elementary schools is an important aspect of this track.

The middle/secondary school counseling track has a focus on school counseling in grades six through twelve with a developmental emphasis on both pre-adolescence and adolescence. For those interested in working with early adolescents, this track has a focus on planning, implementing, and evaluating counseling programs to meet the unique social, physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of students in middle and junior high schools. For those interested in working with young people in later adolescence, this track also has a focus on the characteristic needs of high school students, developing skills in individual and group counseling, conducting career planning and placement, and program implementation. Field experience in middle or secondary schools is designed on the basis of past experiences and the needs of the counselor-in-training.

Counseling and Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education   The higher education program option in counseling education prepares counselors or student personnel workers for post-secondary educational institutions. This program option includes field experience appropriate for the higher education specialization, and supporting course work offered by the Center for the Study of Higher Education. The program is based on the concept that counseling and student services are basic components of the total program for student development in post-secondary schools.

Community and Human Service Agency Counseling   The program option in community and human service agency counseling is designed for students who plan to work outside traditional educational settings. Students will have field experiences in diverse settings to gain the specific knowledge and skills necessary to work in community and human service agencies. Students have taken course work related to and have secured field placements in adult counseling centers, business and industry, correctional facilities, geriatric counseling and service agencies, mental health clinics, and health counseling facilities.

Health and Physical Education   Graduate degree programs offered in health and physical education are available at the masterís (M.Ed. and M.T.) and doctoral (Ed.D. and Ph.D.) levels.

Detailed descriptions of the Health and Physical Education Programs and their program specializations are below. For additional information please write to the Health and Physical Education Program Director, Ruffner Hall, University of Virginia, 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2495; (804) 924-6207.

The health and physical education program area offers specializations in adapted physical education, athletic training, exercise physiology, motor learning, sports medicine, sport and exercise psychology, and pedagogy. Requirements within each option are distributed among: (1) a core of related courses usually taken within the department; (2) a supporting area suitable to the studentís specialty; (3) research projects, independent study, thesis, and/or practicum experiences as recommended by the advisor; and (4) electives.

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program is designed to develop an understanding of major factors effecting specific aspects of physical education, sport, and exercise. Graduates are prepared to work in educational settings such as schools, hospitals, athletic organizations, and private industry. The program also provides opportunities for the development of research skills, and preparation for advanced graduate study. A minimum of 36 graduate credits must be earned for the M.Ed. degree, including the successful completion of a comprehensive examination or 30 credits and a thesis.

The Master of Teaching (M.T.) degree program culminates in the M.T. degree and teacher certification for health and physical education (grades K-12). Students interested in this program should contact the Director of Physical Education Teacher Education for details regarding this two-year program.

The doctoral program (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) in physical education is organized to provide an in-depth analysis of specializations in physical education through a course of study shaped by a faculty advisor, a doctoral program committee, and the student. Graduates are able to initiate, conduct, and evaluate research related to specific aspects of motor behavior or physical education, and to demonstrate teaching behavior appropriate for college or university faculty. Course work is individually prescribed to meet the requirements of the selected specialization and the skills and qualifications of the student. Areas of specialization within physical education may be selected from the following options:

Adapted Physical Education specialization provides graduates with the competencies needed to develop functional physical, motor, and leisure skills for individuals with mild, moderate, or severe disabilities. This program is offered in cooperation with special education, the Kluge Childrenís Rehabilitation Center, and the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school systems. The program is based on an achievement-based curriculum model. Inherent in the program design are the following principles: (1) the core of the program is an integrated sequence of course work in physical education and special education; (2) hands on applications are emphasized; (3) students complete extensive, well-supervised practicum experiences as one-half time adapted physical education teachers in local schools; (4) students are trained to use a variety of assessment tools and techniques; and (5) students use computer and video technology to analyze and improve teaching effectiveness. The doctoral program in adapted physical education prepares researchers and teacher trainers.

Athletic Training specialization provides M.Ed. graduates with competence and knowledge in the area of athletic medicine, including an understanding of the physiological, biomechanical, and psychological implications of training, as well as the principles, procedures, and techniques of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. Students gain practical experience by working with menís and womenís intercollegiate and/or inter-scholastic athletic teams and sports clubs. The athletic training program is one of a select group of NATA accredited graduate programs, has a prerequisite of NATA certification (or certification eligibility) prior to admission.

Exercise Physiology specialization acquaints graduate students with physiological concepts related to the acute and chronic effects of exercise on human subjects. Special areas of emphasis include interactions between exercise and health status, adult fitness, human performance, aging, environmental conditions, and nutrition. Graduates complete practical laboratory training which can lead to certification by the American College of Sports Medicine as either an exercise technologist or an exercise specialist.

Master's students in exercise physiology must complete a two-part comprehensive examination. Part one is taken during the spring semester of the first year and is a basic examination in exercise physiology which must be completed satisfactorily for students to remain in the program. If failed once, a student may petition for a reexamination during the summer. If failed a second time, enrollment is terminated. Part two is either a thesis or an advanced written exam at the end of the second year of study.

Graduates in exercise physiology have (1) a thorough knowledge of exercise and applied physiology with an emphasis on metabolism and cardio-respiratory function; (2) the ability to provide leadership for exercise classes involving healthy and high-risk patients; (3) a thorough knowledge of, and practical experience in, procedures for exercise testing; (4) strength and conditioning; and (5) a working knowledge of research design, research methods, and basic statistics. This course of study can lead to employment in community, corporate, and university exercise programs, or to advanced study and research in the field of applied physiology. The doctoral degree in exercise physiology is designed to prepare students to conduct research in human exercise physiology. Program content includes extensive work in physiology, computer applications, and research procedures, as well as interdisciplinary experiences in the School of Medicine.

Motor Learning specialization prepares students to design and implement optimal learning environments for both the acquisition and performance of motor skills. The foundation of this specialization is based on the psychology of motor skill learning. The process of motor skill acquisition is explored by analyzing the early perceptual-motor development of children, and the problems of motor skill acquisition and retention for individuals of all ages.

Graduates are able to identify factors which effect motor skill acquisition and performance. Specific emphasis is on understanding the theoretical basis of motor learning, and investigating practical questions related to stimulus input, integration, and output. Research is conducted to determine optimal learning environments, practice strategies, and elements which effect the performance of skills. The program is closely related to sport psychology, but with an emphasis on the acquisition of motor skills, while sport psychology focuses on the performance of well-learned skills. At the doctoral level, emphasis is on developing research skills and applying them to current problems in motor skill acquisition and retention. Doctoral students participate in either the ongoing research projects of the laboratory or in their own research inquiry during each semester of study. Current research interests include the effectiveness of mental practice and cognitive/psychological skills training on motor skill acquisition, the impact of knowledge of results and augmented information feedback on motor skill acquisition, parameters effecting the use of models, and visualization.

Pedagogy within Physical Education   Students may also specialize in pedagogy within physical education if they already possess master and undergraduate degrees in teaching physical education. This specialization prepares individuals to assume positions of leadership in teacher education training institutions at university or college levels. Academic experiences include preparation in (1) the pedagogical knowledge base related to effective teaching; (2) the utilization of both classroom and field experiences to train future physical education teachers; and (3) research skills for investigating questions about effective teaching practices. Doctoral students participate in both ongoing research (focused on goal setting and case study teaching methods) and original research, and strive to demonstrate mastery of supervisory techniques in field-based practicum experiences.

Sport and Exercise Psychology   The area of sport and exercise psychology addresses the social influences and individual factors related to participation and performance in a variety of physical activity endeavors. Two major categories of questions comprise the focus of this field: (1) How does participation in sport and exercise contribute to the personal development of participants? and (2) How do psychological factors influence participation and performance in sport and exercise? The first category includes such topics as self-esteem, character development, intrinsic motivation, and the ability to cope with anxiety and stress. Some topics under the second category include social support, motivation, self-confidence, and methods such as goal-setting, arousal control, and mental imagery.

This program emphasizes both the research and application of sport and exercise psychology principles. The research program focuses on developmental sport and exercise psychology, an area that investigates age-related patterns and variations in psychological factors related to sport and exercise participation across the life span. Central topics include determinants of self-esteem through sport and exercise participation; motivational factors related to participation behavior and performance quality (i.e., contextual and individual factors); and social influences on physical activity participation and performance level (i.e., parents, peers, coaches). The applied aspect of the program entails opportunities for translating theory and practice to a variety of practical settings such as athletics, exercise and fitness management, injury management, and youth organizations.

The Sport and Exercise Psychology Program is committed to providing graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences which provide them with a theoretical and practical background essential to their desired careers in research, teaching, athletics, or health and fitness. Students who pursue a terminal masterís degree are prepared for positions as teachers, coaches, or professionals in fitness or athletic clubs. Students are also well-prepared to continue into a Ph.D. program to pursue research and teaching careers in higher education through their study of the breadth and depth of the field, and through ample opportunities to engage in research, teaching, mentoring students, collaborative grant writing, and professional service activities.

Sports Medicine   The doctoral degree option in sports medicine is designed to prepare candidates to conduct research within athletic medicine and sports science. Program content includes extensive work in physiology, anatomy, athletic training, biomechanics, computer applications, instrumentation, and research procedures.

Research experiences are gained by assisting with ongoing projects in the Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Research Laboratory, by developing one's own research projects, and by assisting with masterís theses in the athletic training specialization. Examples of current areas of research include isokinetic assessment of human muscle performance, postural sway (balance), and knee laxity. Collaborative research is also available through the School of Medicine, and in particular with the Departments of Orthopaedics and Radiology.

Teaching assistant opportunities are also available in the undergraduate specialization in sports medicine, and in the NATA approved graduate program in athletic training. Clinical work in athletic training and/or physical therapy is available through the on-Grounds training room, as well as through several local private schools.

Physical Education Teacher Education (M.T.) specialization is for an individual interested in the study of physical education teaching at the elementary and secondary levels. The individual is prepared to assume a position as a physical education teacher (grades K-12), or at a major university which requires the development of a research program in teacher education.

Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology   There are two degree programs offered in clinical and school psychology: the Ed.D. in School Psychology and the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The Ed.D. Program in School Psychology is for experienced school psychologists who wish to broaden their expertise in this area. The program has a prerequisite of two years of successful experience as a school psychologist, and the completion of a minimum of 24 months of study. Included are two summers and one academic year of full-time, on-Grounds study in Charlottesville. A dissertation is completed during the second academic year. Students select two supporting areas (minors) to enhance their preparation in school psychology.

The Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology within the Curry School of Education is designed to train clinical psychologists with potential to make outstanding contributions to the profession in a variety of roles. The majority of graduates seek careers in settings such as hospitals, mental health centers, schools, etc. A smaller percentage choose purely academic and research careers. The program uses an integrated systems orientation, with training offered in individual, group, family, and consultative intervention from several theoretical perspectives.

A thorough grounding in the basic science of psychology is provided for all students. Two research products are required: a pre-dissertation study, leading to a journal-article length thesis, and a doctoral dissertation. Specialized training in clinical work with children, families, and adults is available. Supervised clinical practicum is required, including summers, in all but the first semester of the four years of study. During the first year, students participate in a clinical practicum in a local school system, and in the second year they pursue training in the programís clinic, the Center for Clinical Psychology Services. Of the remaining two years, one typically is spent working as a staff member in the center, and one year is spent working in an area mental health agency or hospital.

Recognizing the major role that schools play in the lives of children and adolescents, experience in schools is encouraged. In addition to preparation for licensure as a clinical psychologist, the program offers the option of becoming licensable as a school psychologist. The program culminates in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and is fully approved by APA (American Psychological Association).

Students wishing to apply to the Curry Programs in Clinical or School Psychology should write the Chair of Admissions, Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, Ruffner Hall, University of Virginia, 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2495, for a brochure and instructions. The application deadline is January 15. Admissions decisions are made once per year during the months of February and March.

Professional Development Students   Selected students may be granted professional development status if they currently hold a degree in psychology or are practicing in a position which is predominantly a psychological service. Examples of such students are: the holder of a Ph.D. in psychology in a non-clinical research area, a practicing school psychologist, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist wanting to continue his or her education, or a student in an area closely related to psychology (e.g., social work) who is seeking a special course. Professional development status is not a stepping stone for admission into the Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology.

Students seeking admission to professional development status in clinical psychology must submit, along with the application, the following information:

  1. A statement of their reason for applying for professional development status and the goals they are seeking to achieve.
  2. A list of the courses (not to exceed 12 credits) they wish to take.

The following courses are only available to applicants who are practicing psychologists or who hold at least a masterís degree in psychology. Admission to these courses is on a space available basis and requires the instructorís permission: EDHS 763, EDHS 764, EDHS 768, EDHS 863-864, EDHS 865, EDHS 866-867, EDHS 871, EDHS 872, EDHS 873, EDHS 874, and EDHS 875.

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